LONDON – It was a year of trials and tribulations for Britain’s royals that Queen Elizabeth II called “quite bumpy” in her Christmas Day message.
Here are some of the scandals and misfortunes that have troubled Britain’s 93-year-old monarch.
The ailing prince
The year began with the queen’s husband Prince Philip overturning his Land Rover after crashing it into an oncoming car.
It ended with the 98-year-old walking gingerly out of a London hospital after four nights of treatment for what Buckingham Palace described as a “pre-existing condition.”
The January accident left a woman with a broken wrist and the prince “shocked and shaken,” according to a witness.
He was forced to undergo a routine breath test — which he passed — and subsequently voluntarily surrendered his licence.
Philip blamed the accident on glare from the winter sun and was soon seen driving around the private grounds of one of the royal mansions.
Yet time has taken its toll on the queen’s companion of 72 years.
He retired from public life in 2017 and had a hip replacement operation the following year.
The ‘favorite son’
The queen’s children and grandchildren have frequently been caught up in mischief.
Yet few of their problems have approached the one now facing Prince Andrew — the man often referred to as the queen’s “favorite son.”
Andrew was dogged throughout the year by allegations that he had sex with one of the victims of U.S. pedophile Jeffrey Epstein when she was a teenager.
His attempts to clear his name in a BBC interview in November could have hardly gone worse.
The prince looked stiff and unapologetic in a performance that public relations consultant Mark Borkowski said was akin to “watching a man in quicksand.”
Andrew’s lines of defence included a bizarre claim that he never sweated — his accuser said he perspired profusely — and that he only stayed at Epstein’s home because it was the “honorable” thing to do.
“There is concern in Buckingham Palace,” a royal source told The Sunday Times after the interview was aired.
The prince promised to “step back from public duties” a few days later.
The bickering grandchildren
Princess Diana’s sons William and Harry found comfort in each other following their mother’s death in a 1997 Paris car crash.
But the two princes found themselves dragged into a tabloid scandal involving rumors of a growing rift.
Prince Harry admitted in October that the two were “certainly on different paths.”
“Inevitably stuff happens,” he said in an ITV interview that was treated as a sensational revelation by some newspapers.
Both Harry and his American wife, former actress Meghan Markle, spoke about their struggles with life in the public eye.
Harry took legal action against two newspapers over the alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages around the same time.
Meghan filed a separate lawsuit against a paper that published excerpts of letters her estranged father had sent to her.
The Brexit mess
The bitter divisions over Britain’s future that have accompanied its exit from the European Union have also been a source of concern for the queen.
She became embroiled in the saga after she approved a five-week suspension of Parliament requested by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the height of the Brexit debate.
The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that Johnson’s request was unlawful because it stopped Parliament from carrying out its duty to study the prime minister’s plans.
The queen herself holds only symbolic power and must follow her prime minister’s advice.
But the BBC’s royal correspondent Jonny Dymond called it “a hideous moment for the palace.”